ESCAPE TO THE COUNTRY – TO WATCH POLO!
It can be boring sitting at home at the weekend, particularly if you have no interest in football, tennis or whatever. When you need fresh air – and feel in need of some adrenalin-pumping spectating, go to a polo match.
You don’t have to be a celeb or rich to watch – clubs all over Britain welcome family groups, and an afternoon watching polo is a fantastic way of having fun. As a spectator you can get so excited you really feel part of the match. You are sitting down (well, most of the time) so theoretically it is relaxing, but you are out in the fresh air which has to be better than sitting on the TV couch.
The thrill of a ball being hit at full gallop right up the 300 yard long ground (three times the length of a football pitch), or hearing the ‘comments’ as players try to ride each other off – perfectly legimitately – is a guaranteed way of getting away from boredom.
There are matches being played from now until the end of summer, and spectators are welcomed at grounds all over Britain. Go to http://www.hpa-polo.co.uk, and click on clubs to find a ground near you.
And go – but you will need seat belts to keep you in your seat; the game may be user-friendly, but hasn’t lost any of its licence to thrill, or amuse.
Where to go
THE polo club is Cowdray, in Sussex, near Midhurst. Once the home of the legendary Lord Cowdray, who lost an arm in World War II, but that didn’t stop him from playing. He loved the sport, and helped revive it in a time when austerity was rife.
Now, thanks to his dedication, the Cowdray Gold Cup Tournament, started by him, is the seccond most important polo tournament in the world (most important is the Argentine Open). Forget about ‘celebs’ propping up bar tents and teetering along in Jimmy Choos at other clubs, lovers of the game all head to Cowdray to see the most exciting matches.
Matches are played most days, and all basic information is on the Cowdray Park Polo Club website – www.cowdraypolo.co.uk.
The bar is Members Only as is the grandstand. Grandstand seats may be purchased for the Final of the Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup. There is a snack truck on site at weekends accessible to public. At the main grounds at Lawns and Ambersham there are permanent loos.
Entry cost for everything other than international day, Semi Final and Final of Gold Cup is £10 per car – includes 2 adults and any children under 12, otherwise £5 for each extra adult. Public may bring picnics and enjoy everything that the sport and the wonderful scenery offer. BBQs are not permitted.
And there is also a commentator, who explains what is happening – so there was no excuse for my neighbour remarking, “I think you could call me Confused Dot Com”. But by the end she was saying she will be back next year.
All over Britain, Matches are played throughout the summer, generally at weekends, although the larger clubs have games on most days except Mondays . Look up on the HPA website. Go to Clubs and click on the one near you; it will have details, such as a website, with more details. Generally costs are low – and you pay per car, not per person